Saturday, December 17, 2005

Andreas Pavel: Real Inventor of the Walkman

From the New York Times:

In the late 1960's, Andreas Pavel and his friends gathered regularly at his house here to listen to records, from Bach to Janis Joplin, and talk politics and philosophy. In their flights of fancy, they wondered why it should not be possible to take their music with them wherever they went. Inspired by those discussions, Mr. Pavel invented the device known today as the Walkman. But it took more than 25 years of battling the Sony Corporation and others in courts and patent offices around the world before he finally won the right to say it: Andreas Pavel invented the portable personal stereo player.

Born in Germany, Mr. Pavel came to Brazil at age 6, when his father was recruited to work for the Matarazzo industrial group, at the time the most important one here. His mother, Ninca Bordano, an artist, had a house built for the family with a studio for her and an open-air salon with high-end audio equipment, meant for literary and musical gatherings.

Except for a period in the mid-1960's when he studied philosophy at a German university, Mr. Pavel, now 59, spent his childhood and early adulthood here in South America's largest city, "to my great advantage," he said. It was a time of creative and intellectual ferment, culminating in the Tropicalist movement, and he was delighted to be part of it.
So the deal is that he invented a porable tape player and patented it in a bunch of countries. Then Sony tried to screw him out of what was rightfully his. He had to deal with it in the courts for 25 years, but he won a big settlement and now gets royalties. Andreas Pavel is the Advanced Theory Blog's hero of the day not only for inventing something wonderful, but for kicking Sony's ass.

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